Welcome to the Metaverse, and just one of the many opportunities that lies ahead for brands who are increasingly drawn to exploring this exciting world that sits at the cross section of physical and virtual. It’s a phrase that entered the science fiction realm a few decades ago, but which has recently positioned itself firmly at the centre of public discourse as the next stage of technology and the internet.
Just like brands in the mid-noughties couldn’t ignore the dotcom hype, brands today are clamouring to understand the Metaverse and how it can help them to strengthen their online reputation.
For Edouard Fillias, CEO & founder of digital communications agency JIN, the scale of the opportunity is huge: “Consider the Metaverse as a wealth of new social platforms—like hundreds of new TikToks.”
For Edouard, brands have a two-fold challenge: understanding this new world, but also understanding how to navigate and behave once you’re in there.
Metaverse—what is it, and why brands can’t ignore it
Cynics will do their best to label the Metaverse, or the overarching concept of Web3, as hype, which given the recent crypto market collapse, may have already reached its bubble. But Edouard couldn’t disagree more. Simply put—this is the next iteration of the internet.
Edouard is an avowed liberal, as VP of French thinktank Generation Libre and even once running as a presidential candidate for the Liberal Alternative party in France. For him, Web3 has a strong link to individual freedom, and the growing desire of individuals to reclaim control over their data and online identity.
“We’ve seen these big tech companies take a lot of data, creating incredible services, but at the same time raising questions over individual freedom, privacy, and our own independence,” Edouard says.
Web3 is a turning point for this. If you post something on YouTube or Instagram, it may sit on your profile but it belongs to the platform, who can remove it at any time. New blockchain technologies, however, creates a trustless system which negates the role of a middle man (aka Big Tech companies) to complete transactions. Anything you create online in this world, therefore, is your own property. Portability (the ability to carry data between platforms) also kills the network effects that have allowed tech companies to gather so much data and grow so powerful as a result.
The Metaverse sits at the centre of this: a digital extension of the real world whereby we can interact, communicate, and collaborate with each other virtually, as well as store our digital assets.
Edouard draws a link to some of the online multiplayer games he played in the past, like World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons. This gives you a sense of their ability to foster community in immersive digital environments. Moreover, new incentive dynamics, like NFTs or play-to-earn games, can actually reward customers for interaction.
How JIN can help your metaverse strategy
For brands looking to take their first steps into the Metaverse, JIN has a three stage strategy. Fabien Fichet, account director and heading up JIN’s metaverse product, walks us three these three steps.
First, there’s the learning expedition. Fundamentally, this is about educating the team to make sure they’ve got a comprehensive understanding of the world they’re about to enter. This includes navigating the overlapping worlds of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and extended realities (XR), for which they’ve created a useful map to help users see the lay of the land.